Three to Relaunch Head High

Three is shifting Head High from Sunday nights to Wednesdays following this weekend’s disastrous debut.

Despite excellent press, the premiere averaged only 2.5% of the network’s 25-54 demographic versus 7.4% for TVNZ 1’s Beat the Chasers.

Three will repeat episode one of the high school rugby drama 8.35 on Wednesday, which will be its new weekly slot.

The season finale of 9-1-1, which was to have aired then, will shift to 9.35, replacing Hawaii Five-O; the crime drama reboot will resume next week.

Emergency, which was to have replaced 9-1-1 from July 8, has been put back on the shelf for the time being.

Three will revert to Sunday night movies from July 5, starting with Deadpool. The 9.30 re-runs of Lost & Found will be dropped.

Sunday movies are a staple of network schedules in this market and tampering with the strategy has hurt both TVNZ 2 and Three in the past.

But TVNZ 1’s decision to hold back the launch of Beat the Chasers was the most damaging tactic.

The game show spin-off was going to air Tuesday evenings until Three announced a Sunday bow for Head High.

With so much at stake given NZ On Air’s bank rolling of the prestigious new drama series from heavyweight South Pacific Pictures, Three had no choice but to find a slot that offered it more protection.

Last night was one of the mostly hotly contested nights of the year, with TVNZ 2 and Three going head-to-head with Australian reality newcomers MasterChef and Big Brother.

Despite favourable media attention, an unknown local drama never stood a chance, despite The Spinoff hailing it as “the best and most complex” NZ drama in years.

“While comparisons to Friday Night Lights are inevitable, they really only go so far, and the tensions of the setting are in fact more complex and malleable than those of West Texas.

“That does not for a moment indicate that Head High will approach the quality of the excellent book/film/show – but that it has the potential to do so is a victory in itself.”

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